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‘Social Development’ as Neoliberal Trojan Horse: The World Bank and the Kecamatan Development Program in Indonesia


  • Toby Carroll

    1. is a Research Fellow at the Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, 469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772. He is currently writing a book for Palgrave entitled Institutionalising Illiberalism: The World Bank's Promotion of Good Governance in Southeast Asia. His e-mail address is:
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  • I would like to thank Garry Rodan, Kanishka Jayasuriya, Teresita del Rosario, Shahar Hameiri and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this article. Any errors or omissions are of course my own.


This article seeks to reconceptualize the post-Washington consensus (PWC) by focusing not simply upon the institutional structures and ideology promoted by it, but the manner in which these are promoted on the ground. The aim is to reveal a central distinction between the Washington consensus and the PWC that has been somewhat neglected: their diverging approaches to implementation. The author focuses on the World Bank-funded Kecamatan Development Program (KDP) in Indonesia, a project that is viewed by some as being somewhat unorthodox. He argues that in addition to its promotion of the latest round of institutional reforms, what is really different about KDP, compared with older approaches to market-led development typical of the Washington consensus, is the manner in which it delivers its mix of neoliberalism. What is radical about a programme like KDP is that it constitutes a new Trojan horse for embedding market-centred norms and practices.1 In general, this is demonstrative of a key difference between the Washington consensus and the PWC that has been undervalued in many analyses of the dominant development paradigm: the methods used to embed and sustain liberal markets.

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